This ancestor definitely behaved in a manner different than what they “should” have done. I am speaking about my maternal great-grand uncle, William Theodore Meisberger.
He was born, the son of Theobald C. Meisberger and Mary Catherine Strausser, on 12 November 1869 in Brady, Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. The town of Brady became Johnson City and finally Ranshaw. Ranshaw is now a suburb of Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.
Based on the 1900 will of Theobald Meisberger, William inherited a lot with a house in Coal Township. The following deed that I acquired several years ago shows that this lot is sold by William at a Sheriff’s sale in 1910.
I discovered why…
I was idly checking out some of the various newspaper sites to see if anything new popped up so I entered the surname Meisberger, which resulted in numerous hits. I expected to see articles in Shamokin city or Sunbury county newspapers since that is where my Meisberger family resided.
Instead, the results were for newspapers in other parts of Pennsylvania, in Virginia and even in Texas. I am so happy I viewed each one (take home lesson your ancestor may appear in non-local papers—even out-of-state). I found my first black sheep.
In 1908, Wm. T. Meisberger was sued for $10,000 for breach of promise. According to one article, a three-day honeymoon was disturbed when a Miss Rebecca Metz filed suit for breach of promise against her neighbor, William Meisberger, a prominent member of the Coal township school board. Miss Metz stated that he courted her over 20 years, that they were engaged and that he was the father of her son. Meanwhile, William had recently met and married a woman from Ashland, Schuylkill County, PA. William was apparently receiving guests in his home, congratulating him on his marriage, when he was arrested.
The articles are fascinating telling the story of this lawsuit, which was finally settled in 1910. Miss Metz was awarded $3,000 forcing William to sell his lot in the Sheriff’s sale to insure she received her monies. In this article, William was now a former Coal township school director. Another article stated that William was also a prominent physician, but the 1909 Boyd’s Shamokin city directory and his death certificate lists him as a laborer in the coal mines. The various articles listed the length of this courtship anywhere from 15 years to 28 years.
All the articles are under copyright so I have not included the images in this post. Here is the chronology of the articles I’ve collected so far:
- Monday, August 10, 1908, Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), pg. 1
- Wednesday, February 24, 1909, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), Vol. 160, Issue 55, pg. 3
- Thursday, February 25, 1909, Richmond Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA), pg. 8
- Thursday, Feb 25, 1909, Williamsport Sun-Gazette (Williamsport, Pennsylvania), pg. 4
- Tuesday, March 2, 1909, Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX), Vol. XXVII, Issue 46 pg. 8
- Thursday, August 5, 1909, Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA), pg. 3
- Thursday, May 19, 1910, Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), Vol. 162, Issue 139, pg. 3
Sadly, William had only nineteen years of connubial bliss as he died at the age of 59 on 2 March 1929. He is buried in St. Edward’s Cemetery in Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pa.
Week 13 of 52 Ancestors 2015 Edition, a blogging challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow in her blog No Story Too Small.